The Fur Hat

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 6, 2015

At this point in film history (1907) interiors continue to be a challenge. This film is five minutes long, and it’s full of incident. That incident is very nicely graded and developed and paced. As far as cinema goes, though, there’s a certain inertia. The camera just sits there.

This is not to say that there’s nothing cinematic here, or that the medium is entirely mired. It’s just that this is a long and complicated process, involving many individuals, working in many institutions, across the world. What becomes clear is that a man like D.W. Griffith is not only necessary at this point (he starts directing for Biograph in 1908), he is inevitable. He will be the next step, though not because he’s such an ingenious innovator. He will synthesize, and he will not be leaping as far and unprecedentedly forward as history has sometimes suggested.

The Fur Hat is a French farce, even a French sex comedy, if you will. Guy’s attitude and sensibility, continue to quite wonderfully combine frankness, good humour and decorum. There’s something cheerful and healthy about these goings-on. Ardent, but decent too.

Also, who is this heroic woman who puts that chair on that table, climbs up and then falls headfirst into the wardrobe? When she’s eventually released she proceeds to buffet that footman about the head and shoulders. This is very able, very attractive indignity. It’s too bad there weren’t more like her at this time, and going forward.